Super Cup: ATK & Chennai City aim to start afresh

The ATK, two-time champion of the ISL, finished ninth in the 10-team league in 2018, picking up just four wins out of the 18 matches, while losing 10 games.

The ATK would look to assert that it is still a competitive side, with a good show in the inaugural Super Cup, being held at Kalinga Stadium. (File Photo)   -  PTI

Its Indian Super League (ISL) campaign having ended in a disaster, ATK would look to start afresh, when it takes on Chennai City FC, in a qualifying round match of the Super Cup football tournament here on Friday.

The ATK, two-time champion of the ISL, finished ninth in the 10-team league in 2018, picking up just four wins out of the 18 matches, while losing 10 games. However, the Kolkata based side would look to assert that it is still a competitive side, with a good show in the inaugural Super Cup, being held at Kalinga Stadium.

Chennai City, on the other hand, had finished eighth, out of 10 teams, in the I-League. It would want to prove that its stunning wins over eventual I-League champion, Minerva Punjab FC, and Mohun Bagan were no fluke.

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“Chennai City FC have shown their capability on the field, and we have to be very cautious. Otherwise, we might have to bow out of the tournament on the first day itself,” ATK assistant coach, Bastab Ray, said at the pre-match press conference.

Winger Jayesh Rane said that the entire team was eager to end the season on a positive note. “We haven’t had an impressive season. We were plagued with injuries. This is going to be another test, and we have to make this opportunity count,” Rane said.

On the other hand, Mohammed Akbar, the newly-appointed head coach of Chennai City FC, asked his team to make a “new beginning”.

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“It would be wrong to contemplate tomorrow’s result from the I-League’s outcome. Everyone will start from scratch and we have the potential to swing the result in our way. It’s a new challenge and we’re ready for it,” Akbar said.

The Chennai-based outfit’s coach added that it has a special plan for everyone, especially ATK skipper Robbie Keane. “Robbie Keane is a terrific player, who can wreak havoc. He might draw two defenders, and that might leave open space for others to attack. We have to be on our toes, all through.”

The qualifiers of the tournament are being played between teams which finished between 7th and 10th in the ISL and I-League. The four winners will proceed to the final round of the tournament, which kicks off from March 31.